Central Division cellar dwellers stop Sabathia in bid for 13th victory
CLEVELAND — The Kansas City Royals are one of the worst teams in baseball, holding down last place in the Central Division at 12 games under .500.
Someone is beating them on a regular basis. It just isn’t the Indians.
With their 6-5 victory Saturday night in front of 31,599 at Jacobs Field, the Royals, who went 8-10 against Cleveland last year, have split eight head-to-head meetings this season. Kansas City’s most recent victory snapped the Indians’ home winning streak at six games.
“They’re a better team,” said Indians manager Eric Wedge, whose club is 15-6 against the rest of its division foes. “They have a lot of ability over there.”
Wedge will get no arguments from C.C. Sabathia, who was roughed up for the second consecutive time after working his worst outing of the season in his final first-half start against the Tigers, which all but took him out of contention to start for the American League in the All-Star Game.
Sabathia (12-4, 3.78) stumbled early, allowing five of his six runs within the first three innings, as Kansas City came out with an aggressive approach against Cleveland’s ace.
“They definitely came out with a plan to swing early,” said Sabathia, who allowed six runs on 11 hits through seven innings. “It took me a while to make some adjustments.”
“Jumping on him is one thing. Getting to him is another,” Wedge said of the Royals’ aggressive plan of attack.
Sabathia put the Indians in a 5-0 hole by allowing a three-run home run in the third to Emil Brown that didn’t appear to have the gas to get out, but just cleared the wall in right field.
Over his last two outings, Sabathia has allowed 13 earned runs on 21 hits through 13 innings.
“I’m just missing on the plate a lot,” he said. “I’ve just got to do a better job of locating my pitches. Maybe I’m throwing too many strikes.”
Sabathia was outpitched by fellow All-Star Gil Meche, who shut the Indians out on two hits through the first three innings and appeared to be en route to a quality start.
WHO: Cleveland vs. Kansas City
WHERE: Jacobs Field
PITCHERS: Carmona (10-4, 3.85) vs. De La Rosa (7-9, 5.16)
TV/RADIO: STO; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM
Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge argues a call with first base umpire Larry Young in the sixth inning on Saturday.